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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wolf Blitzer asks Arne Duncan about Dr. Stephen Krashen's criticisms of his Washington Post article

Wolf Blitzer asks Arne Duncan about Dr. Stephen Krashen's criticisms of his Washington
Post article. Duncan responds, sort of. My comments are included.

Duncan Washington Post article at:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/02/AR2011010202378.html?referrer=emailarticle

My criticisms at:
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/education-secretary-duncan/a-response-to-arne-duncan.html?wprss=answer-sheet

Both available at:
http://susanohanian.org/show_nclb_outrages.php?id=4085

THE SITUATION ROOM: Interview With Education Secretary Arne Duncan
Aired January 4, 2011 –



BLITZER: All right. Let's talk about this article you wrote in "The
Washington Post," because you suggested that there was an opportunity
to improve education by dealing with poverty, which is the huge source
(ph).

There was criticism of your article coming in from Professor Stephen
Krashen of the University of Southern California, saying, "Duncan
gives the impression that overcoming poverty happens all the time
under his administration. There is no real evidence that it happens at
all."

Is there any evidence that you are overcoming this?

DUNCAN: Wolf, that's one of the biggest challenge our country is still
-- folks to believe, that somehow poverty is destiny. I spent my whole
life working in the inner city in a desperately poor community. I know
those challenges as well or better than anyone.

Bright stars and young people from very poor communities, very tough
family situations, lots of violence in the neighborhood. Despite those
very real obstacles, with long-term support and guidance and real
education opportunity, people go on to do extraordinarily well.

BLITZER: Is there any, like, real scientific evidence of that other
than anecdotal evidence?

DUNCAN: There's evidence all over the country. You look at what
Geoffrey Canada is doing to the Harlem Children's Zone, where they're
basically closing the achievement gap. We've never had more high-
performing, high-poverty schools around the country. That's why I'm so
hopeful.

[SK COMMENT: (1) Duncan simply repeats his assertion that the evidence
is there. It isn't. (2) In my response to Duncan, I specifically
mentioned the Harvard Promise Academy of the Harvard Children's Zone,
and Bracey's conclusion that the "success" was due to one grade, one
subject and for one year. Bracey presents a through analysis of the
research on this school. (3) There is no published analysis that I
know of that supports Duncan's statement "We've never had more high-
performing, high-poverty schools around the country." What we do know
is that the number of high-performing high-poverty schools claimed to
exist has been exaggerated. See the references in my commentary.]


The challenge, Wolf, is those kinds of opportunities aren't at scale
yet. We have to invest in those best practices, we have to create more
of those opportunities. Great principals, great teachers make a huge
difference in students' lives.

BLITZER: The other criticism, he says, more of this testing is a
disaster. He says, "We are about to make a mistake that will cost
billions and make school life even more miserable for millions of
teachers and students. The only ones who will profit are the testing
companies. We should be talking about reducing testing, not increasing
it."

DUNCAN: We need better evaluations. And right now, in part thanks to
Race to the Top, we have 44 states working together and two consortia
coming up with the next generation assessments.

Teachers, parents, students want real information. They need to know,
are students learning? Where are they improving? Where are they not?
Where do they need more help?

Those next generation of assessments are going to help us to get
there. That leadership is being provided at the local level, not by us
in Washington.

[SK: His answer: We need new tests! Teachers, parents and students
already have real information. This real information is being
discarded in favor of more tests imposed by outsiders.]

Those next generation of assessments are going to help us to get
there. That leadership is being provided at the local level, not by us
in Washington.

[SK: Duncan does not mention that the next generation of assessments
will mean more testing that we have ever done before. According to the
Department of Education Blueprint, it will include summative (end of
year) testing, interim testing, and will encourage testing more
subjects. Since the Blueprint also calls for value-added testing, we
can also expect pre-tests at the start of the school year. And this
"leadership" comes from Washington, from the Department of Education,
not for the local level. ]

1 comment:

  1. Kids need schools to focus on building better relationships before they build increased testing systems. To point to Harlem's work only as a model is proof that relationships is the key. Mr. Canada is not increasing assessments, he is building relationships. As an Education Consultant who has worked with hundreds of schools nationally, I have personally witnessed the power of student connectedness and personalization and how it turned schools around. I have never seen additional testing accomplish this goal!

    Darrell "Coach D" Andrews
    Educational Consultant
    www.coachdspeaks.com
    www.thepurposelivingteen.com

    ReplyDelete